I've been thinking about why Reverb10 jumped out at me and spoke to me. The past 12 months have been horrible. Hands down, it has been the worse year of my life. It's not just that I lost my Dad and my aunt although quite honestly that would make this year bad enough. There's been a lot more. By reflecting and using the daily prompts of Reverb10, I'm hoping to get something more from these past months than just an overall "2010 was a bad year". I want to be able to write about why it was bad. I want to be able to find some moments of joy. Happiness. I want to look back and learn from the whole "bad year" experience.
And so for the next couple of weeks I'm hoping to do just that.
Reverb10 | Day 3 Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
A few weeks after my Dad passed away, we celebrated my eldest son's birthday. It was his 26th birthday. I knew it was going to be hard. Everyone there, mainly, and so Dad not being there would be so obvious. As a family we were still very much in shock. It all felt so surreal. Although Dad had been ill for a while and we knew his cancer was terminal, you wouldn't know it to look at him. He wasn't in hospital. Up until the last week before his death, he was still working. Yes, he was weak. Yes, he was on lots of drugs. And 4 days before he died the cancer spread to his brain.
And then without warning that evening while sitting in his favourite chair, he died. My brother was in the kitchen doing dinner. I'd been sat with Dad in the living room. We were watching the news and laughing at Mum as she breezed through the living room telling me off making sure that I was letting Dad watch whatever he wanted to watch. We laughed because my Mum always seemed to have the "control" over the TV. Dad had to watch what she wanted. We smiled at each other. Dad never minded. He was so easy going, happy go lucky and he absolutely adored and loved my Mum. Whatever made her happy made him happy.
My brother asked me if I would get Dad's medication ready for the night. Me, my brother and my sister had been staying at Mum & Dad's for the past several weeks "dawn to dusk" to help look after Dad but also Mum. She has her own health problems and the reality of Dad dying was too much for her. She lived in a little pretend world that all was ok. I think all the while us kids were there dealing with the reality, she felt somehow protected from the truth.
I was waiting for Steve to pick me up that evening and while waiting was just sat with Dad in the living room. I got up and passed my brother in the doorway and only managed a foot in the kitchen before he yelled at me. I turned and immediately knew that Dad had died. I saw it in a split second. His eyes were dead. He was gone. I knew it. In the split second I was standing in front of my Dad. I touched his face and told him it was ok. That Peter and I were there. It was ok.
And then suddenly something else took over and we called the paramedics and my brother and I got Dad on the floor to try and resuscitate him. It was all happening so fast. Mum was suddenly there and screaming at Dad not to leave her. I was grateful Dad was already dead at that point because I know if he were in that half state of dying, he would've heard my mum and been so distressed. Mum was desperate and then just as quickly it was like she realised it was too late. Dad was gone. Her beloved husband, best friend, life companion for the past 48yrs was gone. She seemed resolute.
And so it was. Dad died suddenly. Unexpectedly. We were in shock. For a long time. He was only 68yrs old. He was still working. He ran his own software business. He was vital and alive. He shouldn't have died then. He was brave and courageous. He never once got angry. He never once questioned his prognosis. My Mum asked him one afternoon why he wasn't angry or frustrated that he had cancer and was dying. He told her that when he was sat having chemotherapy, he would look around the room and see young people. Teenagers. Young adults in their twenties. Young mums. He'd had a good life. He had 68yrs. He had a life. A good life. How can he be angry when he looked around and saw these much younger people, just starting their lives, being robbed so young?
Fast forward a few weeks to my son's 26th birthday. My son is the eldest of my four kids. He's the eldest grandchild. He and my Dad were very close. He looks like my Dad. We celebrated his 26th birthday at a local country pub in their garden. A place familiar to us. Happy memories. It was the middle of April. Spring. The sun was shining. White, soft fluffy clouds gently dotted a beautiful blue sky. My granddaughter and my niece ran around. Playing. Squealing with delight. Blissfully unaware of the sadness and shock of the past few weeks. Just happy to be together. Just happy to be playing.